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Overcast 56° Good Morning

Primary season has hit New York, Long Island

BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Supporters cheer

BETHPAGE, NEW YORK - APRIL 06: Supporters cheer during a rally for Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump on April 6, 2016 in Bethpage, New York. The rally comes ahead of the April 15 New York primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images) Photo Credit: Getty Images/ Andrew Renneisen

The circus is here. Enjoy.

New York seldom is a major player in presidential campaigns. By the time the Democratic and Republican primaries get here, the nominations typically have been decided. And the Empire State is so safely blue in the general election that no one really campaigns here, except to make ATM withdrawals from wealthy donors.

But this year, New York matters. Both campaigns are red hot, and everyone is counting delegates, so all five remaining candidates are crisscrossing the state before the April 19 primary. They still want your money, but what they really want is your vote. But you have to be registered in one of the two parties to cast a ballot.

Pay attention. Check out candidate websites. The next dozen days should be fun. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has made two stops on Long Island. Donald Trump held a big rally Wednesday night in Bethpage. Hillary Clinton and Trump will headline Suffolk County party fundraisers next week. There will be more campaign sightings in the region.

Our local boards of elections must be prepared, too. Residents of other states waited in long lines and some didn’t get to vote. We don’t want that here. Yes, New York has abysmal turnout in most elections, but this one feels different. New voter registrations are surging, especially among Democrats. Three candidates — GOP front-runner Trump, Democratic leader Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, her Brooklyn-born challenger — have New York roots. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been a lightning rod for his derogatory remarks about New York values. Clinton and Sanders will square off in a televised debate Thursday in Brooklyn.

For now, our region and our state are the center of the nation’s politics. Relish the ride. — The editorial board